Jane’s has posted an article about how armored units from the UAE have spearheaded a breakthrough in the conflict in Yemen. The Emirati armored brigade helped pro-government forces push out from the southern port city of Aden and capture Al-Anad Air Base 48 km to the northwest. While the UAE did not publically announce the deployment of its armored forces in the conflict, it became apparent to astute observers that the vehicle types appearing in pictures indicated UAE involvement. By the end of July, BMP-3 IFVs had been filmed by AL-Jazeera and in early August, news footage showed Leclerc MBTs advancing in a column. Somewhat amusingly, one of the best quality videos that emerged of these Leclerc tanks is a clip from RT Ruptly which mistakenly identifies the vehicles as “Hundreds of Abraham M1 Abrams, provided by Saudi Arabia.” This represents the first use of the Leclerc MBT in combat, although it had been previously used in peace keeping missions Kosovo and Lebanon by French forces.
Also identified have been the SPG Denel G6. Video of this vehicle was taken during fighting for Anad airbase.
According to the Jane’s article, some of the Leclercs in Yemen are equipped with the AZUR urban warfare protection package. The UAE is known to have bought at least 13 AZUR kits, so the presence of Leclercs without the additional armor suggests a second battalion has been deployed to Yemen. The Leclerc tanks operated by the UAE are known as the “tropicalised” variant, differing from French Army Leclerc in that the UAE vehicles have a MTU MT883 engine and Renk transmission rather than the French SACM V8X Hyperbar engine and SESM ESM 500 transmission.
Photo gallery of UAE armored vehicles in Yemen